Chromosome abnormalities are problems that exist in the genetic structure of a baby's chromosomes. Also referred to as chromosome disorders, these abnormalities can appear in different ways in your baby. Most chromosome abnormalities involve an extra copy of a particular chromosome. Sometimes chromosomes might be broken or arranged in the wrong order. Gene abnormalities, though rare, also occur, especially if the parent also has that gene abnormality.
How They Affect Your Baby
Abnormal chromosomes are caused by a problem in the development of the sperm or egg cell. No one really knows what causes these problems, but chromosomal abnormalities due seem to appear more frequently as a mother ages.
Typically, chromosomal abnormalities cause abnormal phsycial appearance though they can also cause delayed mental development. The effects of the chromosomal abnormality depends upon what actually went wrong with baby's chromosomes.
There are no cures for chromosomal abnormlities but treatments are available to those suffering from them. Many of these treatments allow the patient to live a happier life. However, most baby's with a chromosal abnormality will be miscarried early on in the pregnancy. In fact, about 70% of miscarriages in the first trimester are thought to be the result of chromosomal abnormalities.
Tests are now available to check whether or not your baby may be born with a chromosomal abnormality. These tests are called chromosomal screens and may indicate whether a couple is more likely to have a baby with a chromosomal disorder. These tests do pose a slight risk of miscarriage, though.
What is a Chromosome?
Chromosomes are made up of DNA, the building blocks of life. Chromosomes are almost like strings, and they contain every piece of information about our genetic makeup.
Everybody has 23 pairs of chromosomes, or 46 chromosomes in total. Each pair is inherited from your parents - one from your mother and one from your father. Two of your chromosomes are responsible for determining what sex you are - for males the sex chromosome is XY and for females it is XX.
What are Genes?
Every one of our chromosomes is filled with thousands of gene pairs. Genes contain information like the color of our hair, the color of our eyes, our weight and our height. Genes are also responsible for our traits and behaviors.